Low vitamin D levels tend to increase the susceptibility of people to multiple sclerosis. This is a disorder where nerve cells coating become damaged. People whose skin can’t produce enough vitamin D are the most affected by this autoimmune condition. People inhabiting the North Hemisphere produces less vitamin D because of insufficient sunlight exposure.
A study by the Oxford University researchers and another by the Medical School Researchers of New Jersey have made a suggestion that proper maintenance of enough vitamin D levels can greatly help patients who have this autoimmune condition. Vitamin D has a protective effect and may go a great way in lowering the risk of multiple sclerosis development.
Netherlands researchers at the University of Maastricht also conducted a similar study. They recommended that individuals who have MS already should consider taking more of vitamin D as it has the tendency of lessening the severity of multiple sclerosis symptoms. In addition, it can reduce the frequency of the condition’s symptoms. However, more scientific studies are required to determine the authenticity of these research findings.
The Link between MS and Vitamin D
People who have multiple sclerosis tend to have an immune system that attacks its own coat that is responsible in nerve cells’ protection. This has led to a suggestion by researchers that the connection between MS and vitamin D could be drawn from vitamin D’s positive effects on peoples’ immune system. This MS and vitamin D link is strengthened further by the link between multiple sclerosis risk and sunlight.
When the cells of the immune system get a laboratory exposure to vitamin D, they tend to become lesser inflamed. This shows that vitamin D directly affects the immune system of an individual reducing the likelihood of attacking other body cells. This has led some researchers to believe that this is how vitamin D prevents possible MS development. In addition, it affects MS remitting and relapsing by minimizing the relapses number and their severity.
People receive vitamin D from sunlight exposure. Research suggests that children should get lots of sunlight exposure during their early stages of development in order to prevent MS development in future. When fully grown up, people are less likely to absorb vitamin D from sunlight in a proper way as compared to children. Individuals who grow up in areas that receive high amounts of sunlight are not likely to develop MS compared to individuals who grow up in areas receiving little sunlight.
Researchers also suggest that skin exposure to sunlight may affect an individual’s immune system in many other ways not only vitamin D production. However, research proves that individuals who have high vitamin D levels seem to have minimized chances of developing this autoimmune condition unlike individuals with low levels of vitamin D. Those with the condition already and have high levels of vitamin D tend to have relapses.
An MS relapse review revealed that peak rates mostly occur during the spring. On the other hand, valley rates are mostly recorded during the autumn. MS relapses rates are 15% higher during the spring compared to the autumn. This could be attributed to the fact that high levels of vitamin D build up mostly in summer, declining in autumn.